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Working memories
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Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space explores how street theatre transforms industrial space into postindustrial space. Deindustrializing communities have increasingly turned to cultural projects to commemorate industrial heritage while simultaneously generating surplus value and jobs in a changing economy. Through analysis of French street theatre companies working out of converted industrial sites, this book reveals how theatre and performance more generally participate in and make historical sense of ongoing urban and economic change. The book argues, firstly, that deindustrialization and redevelopment rely on the spatial and temporal logics of theatre and performance. Redevelopment requires theatrical events and performative acts that revise, resituate, and re-embody particular pasts. The book proposes working memory as a central metaphor for these processes. The book argues, secondly, that in contemporary France street theatre has emerged as working memory's privileged artistic form. If the transition from industrial to postindustrial space relies on theatrical logics, those logics will manifest differently depending on geographic context. The book links the proliferation of street theatre in France since the 1970s to the crisis in Fordist-Taylorist modernity. How have street theatre companies converted spaces of manufacturing into spaces of theatrical production? How do these companies (with municipal governments and developers) connect their work to the work that occurred in these spaces in the past? How do those connections manifest in theatrical events, and how do such events give shape and meaning to redevelopment? Street theatre’s function is both economic and historiographic. It makes the past intelligible as past and useful to the present.

Essays on art, theatre and politics
Author:

The question of whether art produces politically transformative effects has been intensely debated within critical discourses concerned with art, literature, and performance practices. The Aesthetic Exception reopens the fundamental questions that underpin these debates and examines the entrenchments they produce within critical circles. It does so for the purposes of developing a new approach that circumvents longstanding theoretical impasses, while emphatically embracing the idea that art can make meaningful interventions in the social world that enriches our political life, without collapsing into well-known contradictions. Offering wide-ranging perspectives that encompass the historical avant-garde, political activist street theatre in India, contemporary critical art practices, and postdramatic performance, among others – the book tracks three structural impasses that continue to benight debates on art’s relation to the political: the problem of aesthetic autonomy which separates art from the social world; how art can communicate political effects while remaining ‘art’; and the problem of how art relates to the terrain of real political struggle. Drawing on the classical debates of Adorno, Lukács, and Sartre, the more recent interventions of Habermas and Rancière, and the political theory of Gramsci, Althusser, and Stuart Hall – the book proposes a ‘conjunctural’ way of understanding the aesthetic possibilities that underpin political art practices. It invites readers to consider the stakes for political art today in an age plagued by widening inequalities, and the saturation of the world by the expropriative logics of globalisation. The book concludes with a call to rethink political art around the figure of the planetary conjuncture.

Open Access (free)
Street and theatre at the end of Fordism
David Calder

– the familiar denizens of ‘the street’ – together with visual artists and theatre troupes seeking to experiment with alternative modes of expanding and engaging with their publics. The festival ran for three subsequent summers and, in retrospect, assumed the status of a ­‘foundational moment’ for contemporary French street theatre.1 It is historical coincidence that this foundational moment was so neatly bookended by two key episodes in the collapse of the Fordist compromise and the end of post-World War II economic growth. The spring property crash did not directly

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Open Access (free)
Working memory
David Calder

wrecking ball had already reduced to rubble before a successful lobbying effort by locals and preservationists to designate the building a heritage site. Stéphane Bonnard is not (primarily) a heritage preservationist. He is, with Pierre Duforeau, co-artistic director of street theatre company KompleXKapharnaüM. Since its founding in 1995, KompleXKapharnaüM has worked out of a former metal parts factory in what is now the Carré de Soie. KompleXKapharnaüM creates sitespecific, multimedia performances that engage local memory, industrial and working-class heritage, and

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Open Access (free)
Alternative pasts, sustainable futures
David Calder

theatre festival at Chalon-sur-Saône. As part of that festival, multimedia artist Fabrice Giraud and arts collective Zo Prod have installed this interactive sculpture, Le murmure des plantes 2.0 (The whisper of plants 2.0, first created in 2013), in the Jardin de l’Arquebuse. Giraud’s installation is not the first industrial vegetation to spring up at a French street theatre festival. Whereas Le murmure des plantes 2.0 consists of a single, physically immobile sculpture, Compagnie Fer Recuperation 175 Figure 5.1  Fabrice Giraud, Le murmure des plantes 2.0, 2015. à

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Janam and the politics of the street theatre in India
Tony Fisher

the conjunctural problematic from a form of theatre that seeks to insert itself into the very heart of political and social realities? I would like to offer, as an example of the activist theatre of the conjuncture, and if only in the limited form of an incomplete sketch, a conjunctural analysis of the world’s most enduring activist theatres – the street theatre in

in The aesthetic exception
Open Access (free)
Putting the countryside back to work
David Calder

2 Reincorporation: putting the countryside back to work A man in worker’s blues speaks into a megaphone as his comrades distribute tracts to the assembled crowd. This task completed, the men climb atop a truck laden with empty oil drums. They rhythmically strike the drums with mallets and sticks and touch their edges with power saws and belt sanders, creating fountains of sparks that burn starkly against the deepening indigo of the evening sky. These men are members of street theatre company Metalovoice, performing as hosts of the Ouverture festival. It is 2011

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Open Access (free)
The imaginary archaeology of redevelopment
David Calder

de Soie encompasses the Villeurbanne neighbourhoods east of Boulevard Laurent Bonnevay and the Vaulxen-Velin neighbourhoods south of the Canal de Jonage. Initiated in 2004, the project reimagines this disparate collection of brownfields and social housing as the eastern centre of leisure and business for a growing European agglomeration. KompleXKapharnaüM, the street theatre company discussed in Excavation 99 this chapter, is based in a former metal parts factory on rue Francia, a short walk past the city limits in Vaulx-en-Velin’s western neighbour

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Open Access (free)
Continuous theatre for a creative city
David Calder

, 2010. blink, its tail swishes, and its ears flap. Constructed by street theatre company La Machine from wood and steel, with leather for the flapping ears, the hydraulically powered behemoth carries forty-five passengers along the banks of the Loire (see figure 4.1). The Great Elephant is the first completed project of Les Machines de l’île (The Machines of the Island, 2007–), a tourist and cultural destination based in the Naves, three former metal fabrication shops. Members of La Machine use two of the three Naves as metal and woodworking shops; here they

in Street theatre and the production of postindustrial space
Abstract only
Editor:

The first collection of its kind, Chartist Drama makes available four plays written or performed by members of the Chartist movement of the 1840s. Emerging from the lively counter-culture of this protest campaign for democratic rights, these plays challenged cultural as well as political hierarchies by adapting such recognisable genres as melodrama, history plays, and tragedy for performance in radically new settings. A communal, public, and embodied art form, drama was linked for the Chartists with other kinds of political performance: the oratory of the mass platform, festival-like outdoor meetings, and the elaborate street theatre of protest marches. Plays that Chartists wrote or staged advanced new interpretations of British history and criticised aspects of the contemporary world. And Chartist drama intervened in fierce strategic arguments within the movement. Most notably, poet-activist John Watkins’s John Frost, which dramatises the gripping events of the Newport rising of 1839, in which twenty-two Chartists lost their lives, defends the rebellion and the Chartist recourse to violence as a means for the movement to achieve its aims. The volume’s appendices document over one hundred Chartist dramatic performances, staged by activists in local Chartist associations or at professional benefits at some of London’s largest working-class theatres. Gregory Vargo’s introduction and notes elucidate the previously unexplored world of Chartist dramatic culture, a context that promises to reshape what we know about early Victorian popular politics and theatre.